By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
On Monday 13th January 2020, prominent Gambian Rapper Activist Ali Cham, stage name Killa Ace, was found guilty for assaulting a Police Officer and breach of peace and ordered to pay a fine of D17,500. Magistrate Sainey Joof found Killa Ace guilty on count one for breach of peace and count two for assaulting one Police Officer named Demba Bah. During the proceedings it appeared as though Magistrate Joof had dismissed count three, destruction of public property being the uniform of Demba Bah, however, after prosecuting Officer Ollie Bob pleaded for the Magistrate to demand for compensation for the assaulted Officer and the “Uniform of the Gambia Police Force” the magistrate duly obliged and tendered four fines before Killa Ace to be paid before 4pm.
After Killa Ace was found guilty, for a moment it appeared as though Ali Cham could be facing jail time. However, during the defense’s plea, four different lawyers pleaded on his behalf. One lawyer urged the magistrate “to take cognisant of section 29-2 and 29-3 of the Criminal Code. This allows your worship to impose shorter sentences and also to impose fines instead of imprisonment”. After the defense plea prosecuting officer Ollie Bobb cited section 145 of the CPC to compensate first class Demba Bah and also “to compensate the blue uniform the Gambia Police Force”.
A total fine of D17,500 was paid after the court case as follows;
- Count one, breach of peace – D10,00,
- Count two, assaulting a police officer D5,000,
- Count three, damage of public property (police officer uniform) see Additional charge 2
- Additional charge 1 – Compensation to Police Officer Demba Bah – D2,000 and
- Additional charge 2 – Police Officer Uniform – D500
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According to the Magistrate, Killa Ace was charged with assaulting Dambea Bah (PW1) on his left eye and resisted lawful arrest. Arguing for beyond reasonable doubt magistrate Joof cited that the Prosecuting team brought forward five witnesses including Demba Bah, medical reports and a shirt. Magistrate Joof also recalled that the defense team provided evidence including photos of injuries.
According to Magistrate Joof wearing a bag and donning dread locks is reasonable ground to be searched. However, the Magistrate failed to elaborate further if arresting Officers, Demba Bah and S I Mendy (PW2) both provided identification, thereby making the arrest lawful. According to the magistrate Killa Ace’s claims that Demba Bah was the first to hit him does not hold defense and therefore self-defense is overruled.
Charge three was initially dismissed by the Magistrate, however, it appears as though that a count has also be charged in that regard. Besides written statements provided by five witnesses all from the Anti Crime Unit, the only material evidence put forward in this case was a shirt allegedly worn by Demba Bah.
The Charges are Bogus Says Killa Ace
Speaking to Killa Ace after his conviction he explained that “I’m not a violent person I don’t damage people’s properties. It’s sad that everything that happened to me is everything I’m being found guilty off.”
Asked about count two and what he feels about being found guilty for assaulting a Police Officer he reiterated that he did not assault anybody. Instead he says “I had my rights violated by being arrested unlawfully by being approached by an unwarranted Police Officer.
“If you understand the narration of the court how would I assault a Police Officer in front of a group of Officers as if I am Superman. So logically it doesn’t even make sense to assault an Officer in such an environment that we were in.”
In his last words he gave a warning to others saying “I think this is a lesson not just to me but to every person in the struggle who has been fighting for Gambia. Mind how you fight for Gambia because at the end of the day when things get tough the same people you’re fighting for will be the same people trying to put you away for life”.
- The Author of this article is a friend and colleague of Ali “Killa Ace” Cham